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A sustainable Carolina

Staying Green

Carolina's dedication to sustainability and the environment is driven by our commitment to the University's Three Zeros Environmental Initiative.

Launched in the fall of 2016, the initiative moves the campus toward water neutrality, zero waste and greenhouse gas neutrality. Implementing the Three Zeros goals has improved operational efficiency, generated cost savings and created a living-learning laboratory for students, faculty and staff to study and advance the most recent developments in sustainability policy and technology.

Three Zeros includes everything from individual behaviors to world-changing research and collaborations.

Published in 2019

  • 721.25 milliongallons of potable water saved using non-potable water for irrigation/cooling
  • 8,000people reduced waste by using a reusable mug from Carolina Dining Services
  • 32,753miles offset by Tar Heel Bikes in the past year
  • 98,000gallons of fuel avoided in campus fleet since 2016
  • 200,000pounds of aluminum from Kenan Stadium bleachers recycled
  • No. 1American university for sustainability in the 2019 Times Higher Education Impact Ratings

Three Zeros

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  • A man sits in a parked electric car.

    Net Zero Greenhouse Gases

    Since 2007, we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 22% per square foot, even as the campus expanded in size.

  • A garbage can.

    Zero Waste to Landfills

    In 2017, we diverted 45% of our waste from the landfill by recycling and composting.

  • Water droplets.

    Net Zero Water

    Our water conservation and reclamation efforts saved more than 300 million gallons of water in 2017. That’s about two-thirds of the water in University Lake.

Click on a story below to learn how Tar Heels are protecting the Earth